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Coronavirus Impact on the App Industry

7 min read

coronavirus impact app industry

Coronavirus has been spreading more and more each day and affecting thousands of people around the world. Starting from Wuhan, China and causing havoc in the world, it has now become a global threat to humankind and a shared problem of the world. As it is affecting more individuals and families, more people are socially isolating themselves. And they are turning to mobile apps to continue on with their work, school, and necessities to keep them going during their time of quarantine. 

This change of lifestyle is pushing people to turn to some apps more than others. And this has been causing a significant increase and in some cases a decrease in the category rankings with a number of different apps. 

We have looked into a couple of apps in 6 different main categories: travel, shopping, food & drink, social networking, business and education and tried to find out how they have been affected amid the coronavirus outbreak, starting from New Years, when the virus became known to the public, up until now.

How Travel Apps Got Devastated

One of the main categories affected by the virus is travel, unsurprisingly. As we all expected, tourism has been affected negatively and travel all around the world has been getting decreased and even suspended. 

We have looked more in-depth into two apps in the travel category, to see a more detailed insight. With our data, we can analyze the effects on these apps hassle-free.

We have turned to our App Intelligence tool and looked at Category Rankings to see how Uber, one of the biggest travel apps in the market, was affected by the consistent spread of the coronavirus. 

category ranking change uber ios coronavirus impact app industry
Historical Category Ranking of Uber

Uber’s rank in the travel category was fluctuating between 1st and 2nd between Jan.1st and Mar.17th. And it seems to be preserving its rank despite the hardships the travel category is facing. However, when we look into the ranking graph in the overall section, we can see a clear drop. It ranked 17th in the overall section at the start of the New Year, when the virus was just becoming known to the public. But as the virus spread more over time, we can see that as we’re writing this, on March 17th, Uber ranks 84th in the overall ranking. This situation tells us that while Uber might be an all-time favorite travel app, the overall drop with the recent events regarding the virus shows that people have put it on the back burner. 

When we look at Air China’s (one of the biggest Chinese airlines) graphics in China, we can see a clear drop in the ranking. Especially after January 29th, their drop in the ranking has almost doubled.

category ranking change air china ios coronavirus impact app industry
Historical Category Ranking of Air China

The Situation in Shopping Category

A big concern lately is food and grocery shopping. Toilet papers being wiped off the shelves and people fighting each other to grab the last one have been going all around the internet. As going out is scary even if your state hasn’t declared a quarantine, people are turning to apps to do their food shopping so they can minimize human contact as much as possible.

One of the most famous apps for this in the US is Walmart Grocery Shopping.

category ranking change walmart grocery ios coronavirus impact app industry
Historical Category Ranking of Walmart Grocery

Especially in March, there’s an increase in both the shopping and overall ranking categories for Walmart, While it ranked 27th in the shopping category on March 5th, on March 17th it is at 3rd place.

category ranking change amazon italy ios coronavirus impact app industry
Historical Category Ranking of Amazon in Italy

Although shopping apps, in general, enjoy tremendous growth in the rankings, Amazon in Italy seems to be in a pinch. We see an obvious decrease after Feb. 17th in overall ranking while the app managed to keep its spot in the shopping category. 

How Food & Drink Apps Got Affected

category ranking change starbucks ios coronavirus impact app industry
Historical Category Ranking of Starbucks

A popular food app people normally use a lot, Starbucks, has been affected negatively by the virus, especially in March.

Considering the drop from 25th to 229th in a number of ten days, we can say that now people have different priorities in their everyday lives because of the growing outbreak.

category ranking change instacart ios coronavirus impact app industry
Historical Category Ranking of Instacart

Another app in the shopping category, Instacart, used for grocery delivery and pick-up service seems to be ranking up, making a significant jump from 563rd to 66th in overall and 18th to 2nd in shopping.

Realized an important fact here? The apps that support delivery service in Food & Drink Category has been collecting the returns for their investment while the others are facing challenges to maintain their rankings. Of course, no one would have expected such a turn of events, but any new app in this category should take into consideration to implement a delivery system if possible.

Liked what you read up until here, but got curious about another app’s rankings? Just a quick reminder: You can sign up for free and check out the category ranking history of all the apps in any time window you want.

Social Networking Apps Are On The Top

As people lockdown themselves at their homes, it is very much expected to see a rise in the category rankings of social networking apps. We spotted a quite interesting example to share with you.

category ranking change houseparty italy ios coronavirus outbreak
Historical Category Ranking of Houseparty

Let us take a look at the amazing graph above. Houseparty, which is a social networking app, shows a significant and sudden rise in rankings in Italy. While it was at 1492nd overall it ranks 1st in social networking and overall as of March 13th. This is no wonder as the whole country is under quarantine and in today’s day and age, the fastest and easiest way to connect with each other is through apps like this one. Unsurprising, as Italians are sociable in real or in cyber. 🙂

Sneak Peek at Visibility Analysis of Houseparty & Skype

visibility score map houseparty skype
Visibility Map of Houseparty & Skype
historical visibility chart houseparty skype italy
Historical Visibility Chart of Houseparty and Skype in Italy
historical visibility chart houseparty skype spain
Historical Visibility Chart of Houseparty and Skype in Spain

Houseparty and Skype are 1st and 2nd in Italy’s Social Networking Top Charts as of March 24th. And when we look at their visibility from our new Visibility Report tool (coming soon 🙂 ), we can see how both of their visibility scores have been increasing. We can also see which app has better visibility scores in which country from the map. Houseparty seems to be more visible in Spain as Spanish users prefer it more compared to Skype since March 18th. In both countries, Houseparty has started with a lower visibility score on January 11th, now surpassing Skype’s scores in Spain and coming really close to it in Italy.

Education Apps on the Rise

Workplaces and schools are closing across America and citizens are asked to stay home to self-quarantine. But this doesn’t mean education stops. Schools around the world have been taking precautions with expanding spring break but also doing online classes and assignments, and in March this has been seen more often in the US too. 

Google Classroom is now the top app in the education category when we look at Category Rankings from our App Intelligence tool. And it has been climbing up the charts by a lot in the overall category too, making a jump from 314th to 5th in the past 10 days alone, and since the New Year from 783rd to 5th.

category ranking change google classroom us coronavirus
Historical Category Ranking of Google Classroom in the US

The US isn’t the only country to take measures of course. When we look at South Korea for instance, which is another country that has been hit hard by the virus very early on, we see an even sharper rise in the numbers for Google Classroom.

category ranking change google classroom korea coronavirus
Historical Category Ranking of Google Classroom in South Korea

In Europe, we see a sharp rise for Italy. This is not a surprise for us as it has been one of the countries which got the hardest blow during this outbreak.

category ranking change google classroom italy coronavirus
Historical Category Ranking of Google Classroom in Italy

As Italy has gone from having only a few cases to having not only thousands of its people infected but unfortunately dying from the disease, the urgent measures taken can be seen through data like this one. Italy had its first case on February 20th and we can see that Google Classroom’s rankings rocketed after the 23rd of February, becoming number 1 in the education category and number 3 overall.

If you would like to check out how other countries are doing, you can see this information and more through our App Intelligence tool.

How Business Apps Reached the Top

It is clear that a lot of businesses have been switching to remote for the time being to ensure their employees’ safety by decreasing their social interaction. This can be seen when we look at our data too. There’s a clear rise in apps that support working from home like Zoom, which is trending in both the App Store and Google Trends.

Zoom is an app that lets you do video or audio conferences while being able to share your screen with your co-workers, so, it is no wonder it has become a top app since the coronavirus outbreak reached its peak.

trending searches google
Trending Searches in Google
search trend zoom keyword
Search Trend for “zoom” Keyword
category ranking change zoom italy coronavirus
Historical Category Ranking of Zoom in Italy

Like with Google Classrooms, Zoom has seen a rise after February 23rd on the App Store, when coronavirus made its way to Italy. While it ranked 869th in the overall and 12th in the business category, it is number 1 in business and number 2 in the overall on March 17th.

category ranking change zoom us coronavirus
Historical Category Ranking of Zoom in the US

When we look at its category rankings in the US, we see that its rise came later on in March, however, it is now number 1 in both business and overall.

Trending Searches in the App Store

We can also see from Keyword Research using MobileAction’s ASO Intelligence tool that Zoom has made its way to trending keywords as well, along with Google Classroom, showing once again the virus’s effect on apps that support work and education from home.

keyword trends app store
Keyword Trends in the App Store

Our analysis shows that apps in certain categories have been losing their popularity as expected, such as travel. On the other hand, when there’s more improvement in research regarding the Coronavirus there might be a rise in categories such as health and fitness as there is in education and business right now. 

Share of Voice for “Coronavirus”

Let’s take a look at how keywords such as “coronavirus”, “corona”, and ”virus” are trending since Jan.1st, 2020.

Below is the Share of Voice data from our Keyword Trends feature for the aforementioned keywords in the US:

share of voice coronavirus
Share of Voice for “coronavirus” Keyword

As you can see, both the “coronavirus” keyword and its components have a popularity score above 50, which indicates a highly popular keyword in the App Store. For the “coronavirus” keyword, 41 apps are ranking, and unsurprisingly, the majority of these are from Medical and Health & Fitness categories. On the organic side, the highest share of taps goes to an app called “Coronavirus – SUS”, which is a Health & Fitness app released by the Ministry of Health in Brazil to raise awareness about coronavirus.

On the paid side, we see a more interesting insight. A game called “Pooking – Billards City” dominates all the Search Ads taps by itself! Looking at the description of the app, we can say that it has nothing to do with the outbreak but still invested in this popular keyword to leverage the traffic.

For the keywords “corona” and “virus”, we see very distinctive category distribution. Similar to the “coronavirus” keyword, for “corona”, Medical (30%) and Health & Fitness (13%) apps got the most share, but we also see an addition of Games category. As for the “virus”, the Games category got the highest percentage. And as we mentioned in our post about Reviews, Plague Inc. is the game ranking at the very top for that keyword.

We tried to give you a general picture of the ranking changes of the most affected categories and the change in trending searches. Hope you enjoyed our post. Let us know your opinions in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more actionable insights.

Interested in seeing more data about other categories? Check out Category Rankings for any app. Or schedule a call to let us show you more insights about the app industry.

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